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Saudi Arabia is expected to prolong its voluntary 1 million-barrel oil supply cut into September as it seeks to support the rebound in oil prices. The top OPEC producer introduced the additional cutback this month in a bid to support higher oil prices amid faltering demand. Six participants in a Bloomberg survey have predicted the Saudis will taper off their extra cut by restoring 250,000-500,000 barrels a day of halted production in September.
“There’s ample evidence for Saudi Arabia to start unwinding the cuts in September. The market is screaming out for these barrels, and refiners are scrambling to get hold of them,”James Davis, director of short-term global oil services at consultants FGE, has told Bloomberg
The production cuts appear to have worked, with oil prices climbing about 12% in the past month to about $83 a barrel. Still, current oil prices might be too low for Saudi Arabia since it needs $100-a-barrel crude to balance its books.
“The kingdom will want to see a protracted rise toward $90 a barrel and possibly improvement in Chinese economic data to start considering putting the 1 million barrels per day back into the market,” Tamas Varga, an analyst at brokers PVM Oil Associates Ltd. in London, has told Bloomberg.
Nevertheless, oil markets are expected to gradually tighten, which should boost prices as the months roll on. The International Energy Agency(IEA) in Paris has predicted an oil shortage of about 1.7 million barrels a day during the second half of the year. Commodity experts at Standard Chartered have predicted that global oil markets will register a supply deficit of 2.81 million barrels per day in August; 2.43mb/d in September and more than 2mb/d in November and December. The analysts have also projected that global inventories will fall by 310mb by end-2023 and another 94mb in the first quarter of 2024 thus pushing oil prices higher. According to the experts, Brent prices will climb to $93/bbl in the fourth quarter.
By Alex Kimani for Oilprice.com
Alex Kimani is a veteran finance writer, investor, engineer and researcher for Safehaven.com.